Raymond Abogonye drags Mercy Corps to National Industrial Court over alleged unlawful job termination suit

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The National Industrial Court in Abuja has fixed July 18 for further hearing in a suit instituted against a multi- national company, Mercy Corps Ltd/GTE challenging the alleged unlawful termination of employment of a Director with the company, Raymond Oloche Abogonye.

The multi- national company was dragged before the National Industrial Court in Abuja by the aggrieved Director, who is praying the Court to award N80M against his former employer over the unlawful act of his unwarranted sack.

In the suit filed on his behalf by Mr John Ochogwu, the plaintiff is claiming the N80M as damages for trauma he was subjected to by the defendant.

In his statement of claim, Abogonye asserted that he was employed by the defendant on the 27th day of April, 2020 as the Resilience Advisor to a United Statees Agency for International Development (USAID) Funded Rural Resilience Project which commenced in October, 2019 and scheduled to end in October, 2024.

While in the defendant’s employment as a Resilience Advisor, the claimant said he initiated and managed a number of intervention concepts which ranged from Policy Dialogue Platforms’ on Agricultural Inputs, to improving the capacity of over 15, 000 farmers and agrochemicals lo the launch of youth-led Climate Change Ambassadors, who are currently spreading awareness on
climate change across the four implementing states of the Northeast.

The statement indicated that following the Claimant’s sterling performance in the
employment of the defendant, he earned the best and highest Annual Performance Evaluation Result by the organization’s
evaluation standard.

The statement filed by his lawyer Mr John Ochogwu read in part “Following the Claimant performance, he was first recommended and appointed to act as the project’s Deputy Chief of Party for over three months and was later appointed to the position of a Director as the project intervention team leader.

“The claimant demonstrated strong leadership in supporting the intervention team to achieve over sixty-nine (69%) growth in the number of participants reached by the project, within his first six months as the Intervention Team Leader. 8.

“The Claimant equally contributed to helping the Activity achieve an upward growth of seventy nine percent (79%) in job creation among targeted population in the Northeast, with more than 122% in credit and 281% in sales facilitated by the intervention team under the Claimant’s leadership.

“The Claimant’s contributions made the defendant to issue the claimant with an excellent probational evaluation as part of his
confirmation requirement for the role of Intervention Team Leader and was duly issued a confirmation letter on the 25th of April, 2022.

“Following our claimant’s confirmation, after serving in his new position as a Director since the 12th day of October, 2021. the claimant continued to serve meritoriously in that capacity until he started noticing cases of abuses and unethical in the pal of lhe defendanl such as sexual harassment, work place bullying, racisn, discrimination and corruption.

“Contrary to the alleged reputation of the defendant as maintaining a high standard of ethic and compliance values, the claimant discovered that twice, there has been reports of sexual misconducl and harassnent against a Deputy Chief of Parly (DCoP) of Ihe USAID Funded Rural Resilience Activity without any disciplinary action to address the cases of abuse.

“Sometimes in August, 2022, a formal report was made against the Deputy Chief of Party (DCOP) to the defendant’s global
management wherein it was alleged that the DCoP attempted twice to rape a cook at his official guest hoUse in Gombe.

“This is quite apart from the fact that the DCoP indiscriminately touches female team members at sensitive parts of their body
and also attends strips clubs in Abuja during weekends.

“Rather than take a drastic disciplinary action against the perpetrator of the sexual harassment, the cook was instead
threatened and taunted with a sack for reporting a senior management team member to the defendant’s global office.

“The cook was left traumatized and psychologically tormented by the near rape experience.

“Upon assumption of office as a Director, the claimant discovered that the leadership of the defendant was involved in inflation of projects performance results to attract more donor funding. unfair

“Other instances of corruption are ratification of recruitment process, conflict of interest in the award of consulting contracts among other.

“A good example was when the CoP directly added the CV of her preferred candidate (one Victoria Agummuo) during a recruitment process and requested she be recruited as Nutrition Coordinator by the claimant.

At the proceedings in the suit marked NICN/ABJ/ 320/2022, the claimant adopted his witness statement on oath and tendered several exhibits some of which included his termination letter and his report to the Ethics and Compliance Committee of the defendant.

Upon conclusion of his evidence, the claimant was cross examined by counsel to the defendant, Barrister Okiemute Ohwahwa.

At this point, counsel to the claimant, John Ochogwu sought an adjournment to enable him call a subpoena witness in support of his case.

The request wss granted by the court and the matter was adjourned to 19th July, 2023 for further hearing.

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